5+ best video mapping software for PC

by Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about PCs ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • For projection mapping, you just need a subject, a good tool, and a bit of patience to learn the ropes.
  • Video mapping can be used to create exciting and interactive projects like holograms, enhanced art exhibitions, or music festival visuals.
  • Just like 3D printing, video mapping has a bright future, real-time face tracking being just an example.
  • The suggestions below help you create and adjust outstanding projections for various events. We include both beginner-friendly and professional-level tools.
What is the best video mapping software for PC
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Video mapping, also known as projection mapping or spatial augmented reality, refers to projection technology used to transform or turn objects into display surfaces for projecting videos.

Nowadays, this technology is widely used for a lot of parties, outdoor and indoor exhibitions or shows all over the world

How can video mapping software help me?

Simply put, video mapping is the projection of visual animations on objects or other elements of architecture.

Such objects can be buildings or other industrial landscapes which are often irregularly shaped.

So, using the best software for video mapping spatially maps a two or three-dimensional object onto the virtual program, which in turn apes the real environment it will be projected onto.

Artists and advertisers use projection mapping software to add extra dimensions, notions of movement, or even optical illusions to objects that are or were previously static, to create an audio-visual kind of narrative.

They do this in two phases: manufacturing, where the scenario, modeling, motion graphics, video editing, and other processes are created, and then the production phase that adds elements like software, cabling, and installation among others.

So, what are the best software solutions for video projection mapping to use with your PC? Check out our top picks below.

What are the best software tools for video mapping?

FacadeSignage

FaçadeSignage is the most friendly projection mapping and media server software on the market.

You will be able to use a PC and one or more projectors to dress any physical object or architectural structure with digital media.

This tool helps you create projection mappings and installations in a matter of minutes and with just a few clicks.

You just need to draw the surfaces on the projected area, select the media files you want to project, and go. Your holiday or Halloween projections are only a click away.

Any cake projection mapping tool can deal with flat surfaces but FaçadeSignage can also map any object, as complex as it may be, curved or irregularly shaped.

And with this video mapping software, you won’t have any limitation on the number of surfaces and layers you can create.

Whether you have a small or large installation, all of them can be managed from a single Control Panel and the built-in client-server mode will help you control the players from any PC.

Let’s go through some of the best features this solution has to offer:

  • Simplified mapping tools, user friendly
  • Very high-performance media player for any kind of video, picture or live sources
  • Use any number of projectors (depending on the license), up to 16 projectors with a single PC
  • Embedded soft-edge blending and screen grabbing
  • Layers and masks which can be edited with native tools and external programs (ex: Photoshop)
  • Completely client-server: control your mapping from another PC
  • 24/7 heavy duty player engine, suitable for installations that run unattended for years

FaçadeSignage

Map any object or surface and unleash your imagination, controlling up to 16 projectors at once.

Free trial Visit website

Adobe Premiere Pro

Adobe Premiere Pro is a software tool well known for its great video editing features and because it can handle pretty much all the editing you may need.

But it’s also very good for creating video mapping. Moreover, with Premiere Pro, you can edit footage in any format, from 8K to virtual reality.

The software can work with any file format you have, no matter it came from your phone or from a professional camera.

The lightweight proxy workflows and faster ProRes HDR let you work the way you want with your media, even on mobile workstations.

With Adobe Premiere Pro is relatively easy to map simple shapes and to create a linear timeline. Thus, it is a good choice, no matter if you are new or already a professional in the industry.

The video projection mapping features within Premiere Pro let you add advanced sequencing and layering.

If your project also has audio tracks, you can easily import those and get real-time previews of how they go along with the visual effects. 

Premiere Pro has a decent library of stock audio tracks ready to use in your project. It also has motion graphics templates.

Other key features include:

  • Supports all video file formats
  • Advanced color and lightning options
  • Easy sequence creation feature
  • Map simple shapes and create linear timelines
  • Advanced sequencing and layering

Adobe Premiere Pro

The industry-leading video editing software, Adobe Premiere Pro is a great tool to have for video mapping projects.

Free trial Visit website

Adobe After Effects

Adobe After Effects is another great software, part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite’s tool.

It is capable of producing stunning works of visual art and is the video industry standard for visual effects and motion graphics.

This software can be used successfully as mapping software and functions fairly well in relation to creating masks, shapes, manipulating clips, etc.

Its new feature, 3D Transform Gizmo, allows you to scale, position, and rotate 3D layers. This multifunctional gizmo offers more power when navigating 3D due to the visual guides and multiple modes.

There are many great free or paid plugins for camera projection mapping and photo parallax animation. Adobe After Effects allows you to install them.

After Effects can connect to your projector and set it as your display output. Just select the specific resolution of the surface you want to project onto and start adding and editing video mapping effects.

Then, add 3D objects and use advanced masking in your composition. After Effects also has straightforward drawing options and 3D objects features.

Adobe After Effects is a subscription service. It is available as standalone software or a Creative Cloud subscription that offers additional Adobe products.

All of these tools work seamlessly together. You can try After Effects for free for 7 days.

Other key features include:

  • Preset animations
  • Motion graphic templates
  • 3D geometry and depth support
  • Use the 3D Transform Gizmo feature for scaling, positioning, and rotating 3D layers
  • Great integration with other Adobe software

Adobe After Effects

With After Affects you can take any idea and make it move. That’s why this software is perfect for video mapping.

Free trial Visit website

MadMapper

MadMapper is probably the best video mapping software tool, thanks to its simplicity. It can be used on the go.

Furthermore, the application is powerful, yet versatile, which makes it the ultimate video mapping tool.

With MadMapper, you can map an unlimited number of videos on any real-life surface with as many projectors as your graphic card can handle.

Control LED arrays when light mapping, in real-time, and feed these with video content or generative materials, plus control moving lights with pixel content.

MadMapper is backed by a big community, so they keep updating the software constantly, which is why it has new features such as a Dark User Interface, a live editor to code your own materials, and an online library to share the materials.

It also features the miniMAD hardware companion which now controls the light, with automatic network synchronization for multi-projection and DMX output to control lighting equipment.

Other salient features include an ultra-fast video player, multiple inputs, masking, video effects, mesh warping, 3D Calibration, and lighting, soft edge, spatial scanner, LED mapping, and much more.

You can use MadMapper software for architectural video mapping, art installation, stage design, and live shows.

Other key features include:

  • Supports multiple projectors
  • 3D lightning support
  • Support for audio input
  • LED scanner
  • Control LED arrays when light mapping, in real-time

Get MadMapper

Isadora (Troikatronix)

If you want video mapping but your project needs a lot more, Isadora is the best software for video mapping you can use.

This tool works well with artists, designers, and performers who want to add video and interactive media to their projects, as it combines a media server, visual programming environment, and powerful video/audio processing engine for interactive media playback.

Create stunning effects in real-time in a user-friendly and easy to learn and use platform, which features 8 HD video playback channels, unlimited video layers, and 6 independent video projector outputs

It also comes with an integrated video mapping tool, 4 live camera feeds, custom effects via Open GLSL, built-in video tracking, low latency response to real-time output, and so much more.

One of the great things about it is it lets you generate customization sequences fast, but it is held back by its learning curve and playback performance which reduces frame rates for non-optimized projects.

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Isadora has in-depth lighting settings. The node-based interface lets you control any DMX value in real-time.  Not only that, but it can also convert video signals into pixel-mapped values for project outputs.

This software lets you set up multiple projector outputs at once. It has an advanced stage editor that lets you integrate each sequence into its corresponding projectors. It has a blending wizard that can help you generate the best possible adjustments for your particular setting.

Probably one of the biggest assets of this software is that it is highly interactive. You can change your settings as you project and get instant, real-time results.

Isadora is a licensed-based software that is compatible with Windows OS and macOS. It has a free trial version with quite a lot of limitations.

Other key features include:

  • Motion tracking capabilities
  • Quick movie playback options
  • Timecode for projections
  • 8 HD video playback channels and unlimited video layers
  • 6 independent video projector outputs

Get Isadora

Mapping Matter

Mapping Matter is a web-based video mapping tool with advanced, error-free planning and simulation features.

This is one of the best options when it comes to convenience. You can start working right away, from your browser, without any installation.

Moreover, the toolset is easy to understand even if you are not accustomed to the workflow of similar 3D tools.

Mapping Matter lets users generate quick PDF documentation based on their model. It has annotations options if you need to add any further information. This feature can create detailed projector spec lists.

This online mapping tool allows you to interact with projectors by providing throw ratios settings, projection beams width adjustments, lock targets, and more.

Mapping Matter has some basic parametric geometries options, but it does not support full 3D modeling. It supports already made models and helps you add the settings necessary for projection. This tool is compatible with 3D .obj models.

The tool allows to change directional and ambient lighting, create symmetries, apply textures on objects, and more.

Mapping Matter is subscription-based with monthly charges. It has dedicated plans for individual users and for teams. It does provide a 14-day free trial.

Other key features include:

  • Endless undo 
  • Large pattern library
  • Projection distance assistance
  • Generate quick PDF documentation based on your model
  • Provides throw ratios settings, projection beams width adjustments, lock targets, and more

Get Mapping Matter

HeavyM

Heavy M positions itself as a quick and easy tool for projection mapping that provides professional features without a huge learning curve.

This tool lets you draw advanced models with multiple layering and masking options. The draw tool allows you to adapt your mapping for any projection surface by working with simple Bezier curves.

You can either create your own shapes from scratch or use some of the presets available.

HeavyM has a large library of visual effects that allow you to apply pretty much any type of idea to your projection mapping project.

It lets you animate effects and improves quality with effects rendering. It also has readily available preset parameters that can save plenty of time.

Another feature that keeps you organized is the sequencer. You can organize your whole projection by creating a sequence list. It offers 40 transition effects that can help create a more seamless experience. 

Considering that projecting shows most certainly use music tracks or live music, the music synchronization feature is a must.

It has a built-in sound analysis that can identify the best coherence between visual sequences and music.

Heavy M is a paid service with multiple options including subscription plans and a lifetime license. It has a demo version that is free of charge and has no time limit.

Other key features include:

  • Easily import video files
  • Media file manager with playback feature
  • Lets you create playlists
  • Large library of visual effects
  • Animates effects and improves quality with effects rendering

Get Heavy M

Mapio

Mapio is the best software for video mapping if you want to create projection shows, as it not only lets you use a standard screen, but also any inclines like cylindrical and spherical shapes, among others.

Its key features include Spout (Windows) support, two app modes as a plugin or stand-alone app, solid color or gradient for a slice, capture broadcasting video streams and snapshots.

But it also allows importing 3D files, editable vectors and image masks, tools for splitting masks and slices, edge blending, advanced warping Bezier tool, and so much more.

You can also use undo unlimited times, copy and paste slices or masks, and autosave and recover your project after a crash.

Mapio supports multiple file-formats including AVI, MOV, MP4, WEBM, TS, and GIF for videos and JPEG, BMP TIFF, WEBP, ICO, SVG for image files.

The software provides preset QML sketches for gradient, color grid, GLSL generators, patterns, and more. 

Mapio is a paid service and it’s compatible with Windows and macOS. Download a free trial to see how it works, but it does not include all the features and places a watermark on all your projects.

Other key features include:

  • Multi-screen output
  • Video and audio sync
  • Automatic and Manual pixel mapping
  • Extensive file format support
  • Preset QML sketches for gradient, color grid, GLSL generators, patterns, and more

Get Mapio

TouchDesigner

TouchDesigner is a visual programming environment for PC that is free but not for commercial use.

The video mapping software solution gives you the tools needed to create stunning, real-time video mapping projects with rich user experiences, whether it’s architectural projections, rapid-prototyping, or interactive media systems.

For video mapping, you can make custom solutions for each project as now two setups are similar.

TouchDesigner’s suite of features and open customization makes each project possible, with multiple solutions to tackle every job, whether small or large in ways that fit each scenario and budget.

Features include tight integration with the real-time 3D engine for complete pre-visualization, support for different projection formats for mapping, dome, VR, stitching, and environment lights.

The stoner tool is useful for keystoning, grid mesh warping, and masking, while the Kantan Mapper helps with 2D mapping and masking which includes Bezier and freeform shapes.

3D is usually the most challenging bit, so TouchDesigner’s CamSchnappr tool for 3D model-based projection alignment and calibration comes in handy.

It also supports third-party apps like Vioso and Scalable Display’s auto-mapping calibration tools.

Other key features include:

  • Support for video and audio devices
  • Complete pre-visualization of project setups
  • Sync operators
  • 3D engine real-time integration
  • Support for various projection formats for mapping, dome, VR, stitching, and environment lights

Get TouchDesigner

Did your favorite video mapping software tool make the list? Don’t hesitate to share with us your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment in the section below.

Outstanding visual effects can be the missing piece that can completely transform your event into a memorable experience.

Video editing software can be a great starting point in producing high-quality projections.

If you worked with any of the tools we outlined above, feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.

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